|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
First Indian website for disabled!
Ehtasham Khan in New Delhi | November 24, 2004 18:44 IST
A universally accessible website that provides access to people with all kinds of disability has been launched in New Delhi.
The website, which can be accessed at rehabcouncil.nic.in was launched by the Rehabilitation Council of India on Tuesday.
RCI is a statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment of the Government of India.
The website uses special features to make surfing possible for the disabled, including those with visual and hearing impairment.
The site is also available in Hindi.
"Though such websites have been around for long, it is the first of its kind in India. It will be a new beginning and lead other websites in the country to follow suit," said RCI chairman Major HPS Ahluwalia.
Major Ahluwalia himself is physically disabled, having lost a leg in the 1965 war against Pakistan.
He, however, said it would be another six months before all its features function properly. "We are constantly improving it."
Meira Kumar, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, said: "We will try to post information on jobs and scholarships for disabled people on the website. It will become a centre of information."
"We will also ask other ministries and departments to post related information on this site."
It took three years for the National Informatics Centre to develop the website.
"Even blind people can surf our website," said Major Ahluwalia.
Special software on the site uses a "screen reader" to help visually challenged users 'read' the contents of the page. It also guides users to locate content.
The software, which forms an interface between the user and the browser, helps choose what to read aloud and what to ignore.
"We are in the process of getting a brail. The content of the website can then be downloaded on brail. But this will take another six months or so," said Ahluwalia.
People with partial or poor eyesight can enlarge the text on the website. Photographs and other images can also be converted into text.
The site is also useful for colour blind users as it can display images and texts in greater contrast.
Its audio content helps deaf users. Those who cannot use the mouse can navigate with the tab, shift-tab and return keys.Ahluwalia said: "We want legislation that ensures all government offices have universally accessible websites."
More reports from Delhi
Read about: Assembly Election 2003 | Attack on Parliament